A grand total of 550 readers tested 229 makeup, skincare, hair-care and body-care products with one goal in mind: finding the very best that’s out there. Here’s what came out on top. (Curious to know what products they beat out? See all the finalists here.) Feeling lucky? Enter to win every single winning product here.
Text: Melissa Perdigao
Makeup: Susana Hong
Hair: Kirsten Klontz
Art Direction: Jed Tallo
CONCEALER UNDER $30
M.A.C Cosmetics Studio Fix 24-Hour Smooth Wear Concealer ($28) This long-wearing concealer strikes a delicate balance between second-skin-like fluidity and mattifying full coverage. Gently dot the doe-foot applicator on imperfections and blend with your preferred tool: finger, sponge or brush – or, if you’re really serious, all three.
CONCEALER $30 AND OVER
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch- Up Stick ($42) Available in 17 shades, this creamy stick concealer seamlessly covers up dark circles and blemishes without creasing in the slightest. “A few dabs go a long way with this product,” said Rawan Attia from Mississauga, Ont. “What I loved most was how long it lasted.”
Benefit Cosmetics 24-HR Brow Setter ($32) Sandra Lewis from Calgary gave this clear gel the ultimate stamp of approval. “It held up all day, and I got the brushed-out thick look I prefer,” she said. “Think Brooke Shields circa 1980.”
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner ($34) If you desire the longevity of a gel-pot liner but require the ergonomic ease of a pencil, consider this high-impact hybrid. “It has just the right amount of creaminess and great staying power,” said Marie Costa from Kingsville, Ont.
Annabelle Cosmetics Free Spirit Eyeliner in Be Bold ($10) This Canadian-made waterproof liner is designed with a flexible skinny tip that won’t drag on skin and “makes application precise, clean and fuss-free,” said Elaine Seto from Toronto.
RED LIPSTICK UNDER $25
M.A.C Cosmetics Lipstick in Proud to Be Canadian ($24) Although jurors were divided on its matte texture – which has a tendency to be drying – this unapologetically red lipstick is a nod to the brand’s Canadian roots and stays put on your lips. “There was very little transfer to my teacup,” said Shana Terry from Oshawa, Ont.
RED LIPSTICK $25 AND OVER
Lise Watier Rouge Intense Suprême in Mary ($28) Not only does its ultra-elegant magnetic case open and snap shut in the most satisfying of ways, but this deep-red lipstick is also flattering on every skin tone and glides on with ease.
MAKEUP SETTING PRODUCT
Dermablend Illuminating Banana Powder ($38) “This product effectively set my makeup all day, felt comfortable on my skin and fought off oiliness until the day’s end,” said Mona Mesa from Winnipeg about the finely milled glow-enhancing powder, which has a yellow tint to cancel out discolouration.
MASCARA UNDER $15
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara ($14) This lifting mascara features a wavy brush that lengthens each lash and creates a truly separated effect. The result? Thick, feathery lashes that are as bold as they are billowy.
MASCARA $15 AND OVER
Marcelle Xtension Plus+ Prolash Growth Complex Mascara ($15) A winner for the second time in a row, this hypoallergenic conditioning mascara – made with peptides and vitamins – glides on like a dream and promises to lengthen and thicken lashes in just two weeks.
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Cherry Delightful ($10.50) Jurors loved this one-coat wonder for its ability to give a classic red mani that won’t chip at the first snag. It won full marks for durability, coverage and consistency.
Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Anti-Aging ($38) This multi-purpose skin tint is a breeze to blend and creates a lightly fragranced, immaculate base that feels fresh and looks just like bare (and well-tended-to) skin.
DRY SHAMPOO UNDER $25
Joico Weekend Hair Dry Shampoo ($24) Have an extra sleep-in day with this forgiving dry shampoo that extends the life of your hairstyle sans the unpleasant chalky sensation. “My hair smelled great and felt silky and shiny, and I actually got away with using the dry shampoo for two days,” said Monica Graham from London, Ont.
DRY SHAMPOO $25 AND OVER
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($33) This talc and aluminum-free dry shampoo smells divine and feels incredibly light, as reported by our jurors. It contains rice starch to soak up excess oil and sea-buckthorn extract to keep hair soft and nourished.
HAIR MASK UNDER $20
Biolage Colorlast Deep Treatment Pack Hair Mask for Color-Treated Hair ($17) The addictive floral scent of this weekly hair mask caught the attention of Ozlem Kuscu from North York, Ont. What’s more, she said, “it gave a beautiful shine to my hair. A little goes a long way.”
HAIR MASK $20 AND OVER
Voir Haircare Rhythm of the Rain Hair Masque & Scalp Detox ($36) This argan-oil-based deep-conditioning mask includes extracts of red clover and rosebay to fortify the scalp and minimize flakiness. “[I] loved it from the first application,” said Emely Brea from Saint-Léonard, Que.
Matrix Total Results High Amplify Hairspray Flexible Hold Hairspray ($20) What if we told you that hairspray could hold your ’do in place without turning it into a crunchy shadow of what it once was? This lightweight formula does exactly that – and will “last until the next wash,” said Melanie Fournier from Allardville, N.B.
HAIR CARE UNDER $30
Joico K-PAK Color Therapy Luster Lock Glossing Oil ($25) Meet the shine-enhancing hair oil of your dreams. It feeds hair with protective keratin and vitamin-E-rich African manketti oil and will increase the vibrancy of your balayage.
HAIR CARE $30 AND OVER
Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Smoothing Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter ($45) To transform unruly hair into something truly magnificent, give this cream-to-oil pre- blow-dry treatment a whirl. A dab of the serum-like elixir delivers ample body to create that enviable “hot-off-the- salon-chair” look.
SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR COLOURED HAIR UNDER $25
Joico K-PAK Color Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner ($19 and $23) Ensuring your dye job doesn’t fade after a handful of washes requires extra care. This nourishing combo is specifically formulated to maintain colour vibrancy and smooth out tangles for easy styling.
SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR COLOURED HAIR $25 AND OVER
Kérastase Blond Absolu Bain Lumière and Kérastase Blond Absolu Fondant Cicaflash Conditioner ($45 and $49) Shannon Mykayla from Port Dover, Ont., said, “Its lather is rich and satisfying, it has a light scent that lasts for days and it makes my hair shiny, soft and lustrous.”
SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR DAMAGED HAIR UNDER $25
Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures Repairing Shampoo and Conditioner ($6 each) This lavish honey-drenched formula repairs split ends, protects against heat damage and locks in hydration. “I was able to get three days out of a wash and style with this combo,” said Cynthia Szabo from Owen Sound, Ont.
SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR DAMAGED HAIR $25 AND OVER
Joico Defy Damage Protective Shampoo and Conditioner ($25 each) For a clean-feeling scalp and hair that smells so good it prompts compliments from anyone within a (responsible) two-metre radius, try out this moringa-seed-oil- and lipid-powered reparative duo.
SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER FOR NON-COLOURED HAIR
Maui Moisture Shine + Awapuhi Shampoo and Conditioner ($11 each) This aloe-vera- and coconut-water-based pair hydrates hair without heaviness thanks to the addition of Hawaiian ginger flower. “It was easy to comb through in the shower, and my hair kept its volume between washes,” said Janine Joly from Toronto.
ANTI-AGING DAY CREAM UNDER $80
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power LZR Fragrance-Free Moisturizer ($40) Formulated with a triad of skin-transforming ingredients – retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid – this lotion is ideal for sensitive-skin types.
ANTI-AGING DAY CREAM $80 AND OVER
Clarins Rose Radiance Cream ($128) Lyne Crepin from Mont-Royal, Que., is tickled by the charming pink colour of this luminosity-boosting cream, which contains hibiscus and harungana extracts to hydrate and smooth. “It gives skin a rosy look on application,” she said.
ANTI-AGING NIGHT CREAM UNDER $100
Jouviance Anti-Age 3-in-1 All Skin Types ($95) This peptide and ceramide-loaded moisturizer “has a light, silky texture and a clean scent,” said Lori McLeod from Kingston, Ont. To call it “hydrating” is an understatement: “In the morning, I felt like a day cream was almost not needed,” she added.
ANTI-AGING NIGHT CREAM $100 AND OVER
Esthederm Excellage Cream ($159) This day and night cream received rave reviews from our jurors for its ability to improve skin’s texture, reduce redness and eliminate dry patches. “It has a light texture, is easy to apply and absorbs very quickly,” said Annette May-Graves from Newmarket, Ont.
DAY SERUM UNDER $50
IDC Hydra Hyaluronic2 ($45) The cure for a parched, flaky face? A cooling gel-serum that drenches skin in two forms of hyaluronic acid, pollution-blocking watercress extract and mineral-packed Swiss glacial water.
DAY SERUM BETWEEN $50 AND $100
Vichy Minéral 89 Fortifying Daily Skin Booster ($52) The secret ingredient in this serum is a high concentration – 89 percent – of Vichy’s signature volcanic water, drawn in France’s Auvergne region. When combined with hyaluronic acid, it delivers plump and bouncy skin.
DAY SERUM $100 AND OVER (TIE)
Clarins Double Serum ($129) This plant-based serum keeps water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients separate until the moment they are dispensed. Plus, it has “just enough scent to make it smell luxurious,” said Jane Bowden from Peterborough, Ont.
DAY SERUM $100 AND OVER (TIE)
Lierac Premium The Cure Absolute Anti-Aging ($150) The light texture and subtle jasmine and iris fragrance of this line-smoothing serum won over our jurors. “It leaves a luminous glow and feels beautiful on the skin,” said Lisa Tomko from Sydney, N.S.
Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser ($39) Slough away dull skin and reveal a glowing complexion with this satisfyingly gritty cleanser that is made with eco-friendly silica beads. Skin-softening moringa-seed extract ensures that your face won’t be left feeling tight or dry.
EYE CARE UNDER $80
Clarins Extra-Firming Yeux ($72) This smoothing balm relies on caffeine extract and horse-chestnut escin to awaken sleepy eyes. Shanna Bautz from Macdowall, Sask., is a fan. “I am in awe of its powers,” she said. “I noticed right away that the tired look I always have seemed to disappear.”
EYE CARE $80 AND OVER
Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex ($84) Nicole Hartman from Marwayne, Alta., said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have had to wear a face mask eight hours a day and felt self-conscious about my 43-year- old eye bags. But after I used this product, my eyes felt and looked more refreshed.”
G.M. Collin Instant Radiance Anti-Aging Eye Patch ($50) Twenty minutes with these patches is enough to banish any signs of an overindulgent night or a past-your-bedtime work session thanks to a brightening cocktail of peptides and fruit extracts. Store them in the fridge to amplify the chill factor.
Esthederm Cellular Water Mist ($29) This hyaluronic-acid-and mineral-filled mist delivers a cloud of hydration and primes the skin for anything you layer on it, be it serums or heavy-duty makeup. It also makes an ideal mid-day skin refresher when you need to bring your senses back to earth.
FACE OIL UNDER $50
Pixi +C Vit Priming Oil ($38) Our jurors enjoyed this skin-brightening oil because of its lightweight texture and delightful scent. Give the glossy liquid a quick shake to emulsify its nourishing blend of vitamin C, turmeric extract and carrot oil and you’re on your way.
FACE OIL $50 AND OVER
G.M. Collin Daily Ceramide Comfort ($116) These luxe ceramide-laden oil capsules come highly recommended by Pearl Mofunanya from Mississauga, Ont., who tested them out alone and also in conjunction with her skincare routine. “They worked well over both ways,” she said. “My skin looks amazing!”
Lise Watier Sun Smart Universal UV Shield SPF 30 ($40) Great skin requires rigorous SPF application, so the sunscreen you select should be one you’ll want to wear. “This is by far the best sunscreen I have ever used,” raved Kavleen Badrain from Brampton, Ont., adding that it has a satiny texture and non-greasy finish.
Ole Henriksen Truth Juice Daily Cleanser ($37) This orange-water-filled gel cleanser lathers up generously and contains exfoliating PHAs that are gentle enough for sensitive skin. Esti Golub from Toronto described using it as “a mini spa experience.”
Bioderma Atoderm Lip Stick ($7) “I live in a winter wonderland where temperatures are often -25 ̊C, and my chapped, dry lips soak up this balm,” said Chelsea Stern from Fort St. John, B.C. Tuck this gem into your parka and leave it by your bedside during the frostier months.
MAKEUP REMOVER UNDER $20
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water All-in-1 Cleansing Water ($11) A generous splash of this gentle cleansing water will remove a fair amount of gunk and grime without stripping the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s also suitable for all skin types, which won major points with our jurors.
MAKEUP REMOVER $20 AND OVER
Bioderma Sensibio $20 H2O Micellar Solution ($20) This iconic micellar solution is made up of a combination of fatty-acid esters and cucumber extract, which together lift dirt away from the skin. Ashlyn Nero from Welland, Ont., said, “It took off a full face of makeup with very few swipes and did not leave an oily finish.”
MOISTURIZING DAY CREAM UNDER $50
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream ($20) This budget-friendly moisturizer was adored by our jurors, who appreciated its ability to prime the skin for makeup. “[My eyelids] are normally dry, and eyeshadow tends to cling to the dry patches, but this helped smooth every- thing out,” said Tanya Sarin from Mississauga, Ont.
MOISTURIZING DAY CREAM $50 AND OVER
G.M. Collin Marine Collagen Revitalizing Cream ($98) “All the stars for this face cream,” said Ruxandra Costache from New Westminster, B.C., who treasures the marine-collagen and algae-saturated lotion for the pleasant cooling sensation it creates.
Vichy Soothing Aloe Vera Face Mask ($35) Spread this plush grass-coloured mask on irritated zones to calm redness and relieve inflammation. With its blend of skin-healing aloe vera and Vichy’s signature thermal water, it restores and comforts the epidermis.
NIGHT SERUM UNDER $100
Reversa Hydra-Minéral Concentrate ($42) Enriched with waters from Canadian glaciers, coconuts and roses and a yeast extract, this serum provides a substantial dose of skin-balancing minerals that shield against environmental aggressors and even out the complexion.
NIGHT SERUM $100 AND OVER
Clarins Super Restorative Remodelling Serum ($142) With the help of dark-spot-reducing rock-rose extract, this sculpting serum is meant to perk up slack skin and diminish hyperpigmentation brought on by continued exposure to the elements and, well, getting older.
TONING LOTION UNDER $35
Bioderma Sébium Lotion ($20) This pH-balanced toner helps to halt breakouts and is favoured by Mesha Thompson from Balderson, Ont., who is keen on the energizing cucumber scent. “It felt so refreshing on my face and helped wake me up in the mornings,” she said.
TONING LOTION $35 AND OVER
Clarins Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion ($36) Clarins, darling of the jurors, has turned out another winner with this lush toner thanks to its pleasant texture and alcohol-free formula. “My skin drank it up,” said Theresa Lankinen from Kakabeka Falls, Ont.
BODY LOTION UNDER $20
Nivea Oil Infused Coconut & Monoi Oil Body Lotion ($11.50) The creamy, non-greasy formula adds a silky sheen, said Doreen Sultana from Victoria. “It quickly absorbs into my skin, leaving it feeling softer and more supple,” she said.
BODY LOTION $20 AND OVER
Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion ($48) Our jurors loved the sumptuous texture of this all-over lotion. “Skin feels taken care of,” said Daniya Khan from Ajax, Ont. “And its great jasmine scent is the cherry on top.”
BODY SCRUB UNDER $40
Dans un Jardin Mirabella Sugar Scrub ($20) This sweet-smelling scrub gently buffs away rough patches and, thanks to the addition of beeswax, forms a protective barrier on the skin.
BODY SCRUB $40 AND OVER
Moroccanoil Body Polishing Scrub ($43) “Its gel-like texture reminds me of honey,” said Tanya Firmage from Lindsay, Ont., about this golden argan-shell-powder-based exfoliator. “My skin was visibly less dry after use and looked healthier.”
Dove Body Wash Mousse With Coconut Oil ($8) The frothy texture of this coconutty body cleanser resembles whipped cream and smells delicious too. “The sweet, light scent is my favourite thing,” said Danute Bulka from Saint-Hubert, Que. “I look forward to it every morning.”
Malin+Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant ($26) If the thought of switching to natural deodorant makes you sweat, fear not. This fresh-smelling invisible stick takes home the prize because it does exactly what it’s meant to do: It neutralizes funk all day without causing irritation or residue.
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Florale ($46) The French brand’s signature all-over dry oil has received a floral update, and our jurors were delighted about it. “I’ve left behind my body creams and lotions and use this in my after-shower routine,” said Mila Anggasadi from Sherbrooke, Que.
HAND CREAM UNDER $20
Bioderma Atoderm Hands & Nails ($10) This repeat winner earns its title as a must-have for frequent hand-washers (a.k.a. all of us, especially these days) on account of its budget-friendly price point and non-sticky shea-butter-infused formula.
HAND CREAM $20 AND OVER
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($35) Dry, cracked hands and unsightly cuticles are a thing of the past with this fast-absorbing emollient balm. “After using this cream for three weeks, my hands are healed and feel moisturized and very soft,” said Andreea Ciobanu from Laval, Que.
ClarinsMen After Shave Soother ($33) Tim Forsyth from Spruce Grove, Alta., commends this aftershave for its energizing scent and calming effect on the skin. “Definitely a keeper,” he said.
ClarinsMen Exfoliating Cleanser ($34) This two-in-one cleanser-exfoliator contains a blend of lava powder and salicylic acid microbeads to give pores a thorough cleanse and nix any blemishes that might be bubbling under the surface of the skin.
MOISTURIZING FACE CREAM (TIE)
ClarinsMen Super Moisture Gel ($40) This hydrating moisturizer tones and mattifies skin with ingredients like zinc and bison-grass extract. “My skin was healthy-looking after using this for a few days,” said Randy Callbeck from Charlottetown.
MOISTURIZING FACE CREAM (TIE)
Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 ($37) “I was not into using face creams as I thought that they were for women,” said Willard Paddock from Riverport, N.S. But after trying this cream, he had the supple skin we all deserve to possess.
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